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Audit Report into Hospitality Association

15 April, 2008

Sinn Féin MLA, who is the Chair of the Assembly Public Accounts Committee, says he will examine closely the findings of the latest Audit office report on the Hospitality Association.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will have its chance to examine closely the findings of the Audit office report when it holds its own Inquiry into the Hospitality Association when it meets on Thursday 17th April.

"There are two main areas of concern to me, Shortcomings in the financial management and control of HANI and the subsequent appointments of the HANI Training Officer to seven public positions (2000-07).

"Shortcomings in Financial Management and Control cover areas such as, no separate bank account was established for grants received and no separate financial records for grants received were maintained, including:

  • Over-claiming for training provided (£43,000);
  • Funds not used as intended (£39,000);
  • Falsifying documents (documents detailed for leasing equipment which was purchased) -Irregular payments totalling (£93,000);
  • Abuse of credit card.

"Time and time again we see in front of the PAC fundamental failings in financial management, it is further exasperated when Boards etc are charged with the protection of public funds and they fail to do so.

Concluding Mr O Dowd said

"The second area of concern is how public appointments were made by Government Departments following the acknowledgement that there already had been shortcomings by staff in HANI.

"Public confidence must be maintained in Public appointments and I look forward to questioning the Commissioner of Public Appointments Felicity Houston at the PAC hearing on Thursday, on how we ensure through her post that not only standards are in place but that they are adhered to by Government Departments." ENDS

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